Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Q & A: Happiness

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A few weeks ago I received a very sweet email from my new friend in Montreal. We connected instantly, I'd say... and she asked this very thought provoking question. 

"Do you feel that you have reached a stage where your attitude towards life is almost always positive and where your reflex is almost always to "choose happiness" in the face of a trial? If yes, how long did it take you to get there? If not, is it something you are aiming for? Everyone's journey is different of course. Some people seem to be able to turn their life or attitude around within days or weeks, and for other it takes more time. I'm just curious as to how you perceive this."

Being that this is such a great question, I thought I'd answer it here and share my thoughts with all of you...

Is my attitude towards life almost always positive, almost always choosing happiness in the face of trial?

Hmph.

This is tough.

I wish I could just write "YES and here's why my life is so put together!"

But I can't.

What I can say is "That's definitely the goal!".

Just last night Seth and I were having an in-depth chat about exactly this.

You see, one of my main problems is that I find myself to be talking about "it" ("it" being my past experiences that have to do with 'what happened' and my divorce) way more than I should. I'm not talking about "it" in a nostalgic way...  but I'm talking about it in frustrated and upset way.

I didn't realize just how much I was talking about "it" until Seth politely made mention of it. Obviously I am still healing, and as such, I will need to talk about "it" sometimes but to talk about it just to talk about "it"? Why am I doing that?

First, it made me think of my Letting Go post. I reread that a few times last night on my phone.

Then, I laid in bed thinking that maybe I talk about it because "IT" is just so overwhelming at times... my new life is complex... sharing a son with someone is a dynamic that you just can't explain... and I am still finding myself to be quite wounded from many aspects of 'what happened'. "It" changed everything in my life, very quickly. "It" is still very fresh at times, even now.

Suddenly, I remembered what Seth and I had talked about just a few hours before- HAPPINESS.

Talking about "it" doesn't mean that I am not happy where I am now... or that I'm not over my previous life/ marriage.... rather, talking about "it" is probably a bad habit... and the inability to let "it" go is impairing my potential happiness right NOW.

Does that make sense?

I am happy now. I am choosing to be happy now. BUT, I am also dwelling on the past TOO MUCH and am, at times, feeling strangled by its negative hold.

So, in a weird and round about way, I am trying to answer the above question.

Yes, I am trying to choose happiness in the face of trial every single day... but it can be very very very very very very hard sometimes. And actually I think choosing happiness is the easy part. It's easy to say that you're going to 'choose' to do anything... but what is really the most time consuming, self disciplined and HARD part is DOING IT! Being happy.

I think this is why the question above was so tough for me to grasp... because I am a happy person... and I have overcome some really hard things... my recovery skills are proving to be good... BUT... BUT... BUT...

Choosing to be happy and actually LIVING a happy life are two different things in my opinion.

Sometimes I think that when I try to be TOO HAPPY (when bad things happen, when people bug me, when confrontation is necessary, when my feelings are hurt) I am just masking how I really feel. It is human nature to feel other emotions besides happiness.... and if people are too happy, gung-ho, chipper as a whip, every single minute of every single day, ALL THE TIME, I'm not sure how genuinely happy they are because it seems that they are doing anything they can to avoid admitting to themselves and the world that their life might have imperfections.

So while I am trying to choose happiness everyday, I won't lie and tell you that I am genuinely as happy as I could be every single minute of very single day that I wake up (especially in the face of trial). That is unrealistic and I think the idea of that (being happy all the time- which I am SO guilty of) can be very very destructive. 

My life has its hardships. 

My definition of happiness has changed.

Happiness means finding joy in holiday's with my son, as well as when he's not around.

Happiness means embracing his tender hugs and kisses on some days, as well as trying to hold back the tears when he tells me he loves his other parent more because of  X, Y and Z.

Happiness means getting married to my best friend and starting our life together, as well as dealing with a lot of deep residue that comes with my own insecurities (emotionally, sexually, etc) and the dynamic of blending a family.

Happiness means having really wonderful heart felt conversations full of good, as well as having really hard and painful ones to clear some stuff up.

Happiness means loving who you are as a person, as well as becoming aware of your faults and trying to be better.

Happiness means that you find the will to keep moving forward with a grateful heart, loving those around you, even when it just really sucks sometimes! 

Some people are happier than others. No doubt. Some people recover quicker than others. No doubt. Some people find being happy to be easy. Some people, not so much. 

If you ask me, HAPPINESS a life-long goal... a daily process... maybe even an hourly or minute process... because no matter how good your life is in this very moment... life moves on... things happen... things change... and you must be able to adapt. And sometimes, apart of that adaptation is being willing to redefine what happiness means to you and how you will be happy, anyway.

THOUGHTS are welcome... As you can tell, I am just rambling here... :)


4 comments:

  1. I loved this post, Jacy! I was so grateful for it, too. I agree that it's a life-long process. I loved that you said even a minute to minute process and that happiness is only one emotion we experience. So many blogs I read taut the joys of choosing happiness. I have trials, though not as great as others, and I still find the good in those. But some days I may feel sad, insecure, down, or even annoyed by someone or something. Those aren't what I feel all day, yet sometimes I feel I'm coming up short for feeling them at all. Thanks for this reminder that we are all complex human beings and feeling those things is perfectly normal, genuine even.

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    1. Isn't it terrible when you feel guilt for feeling something other than happy? I've totally been there too, Sharlee.

      Love ya!! So glad you commented this ;)

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  2. I loved this!! You are one of the happiest people I know. I have always thought you had a gift for looking at a situation - at "IT" - and being able to extract pieces of wisdom from it and then throw the rest in the trash. I definitely think that IT is going to be a part of us for the rest of our lives, and that thoughts will rise and we will feel sad or anxious about it, but I think you do an excellent job or turning it in to a learning opportunity, and I think that creates so much happiness!

    I really like that your take on happiness wasn't like this cheerful-always-smiling-and-rejoicing persona, but it is a REAL life. A life where you confront all the ITS and you still find things to be happy about.

    You are so amazing!!!

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    1. Thanks Chantel! You are so kind :) I like to think that IT has shaped me to be who I am today... BUT... I hate that IT comes up so much... :-/

      This is real life. And even in REAL life, you can be happy. It just takes some readjusting :)

      XOXO

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